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Step 3: Assessment

If the goal is to improve decision support for patients within a clinical area, but the specific areas of focus are not clear, then a formal needs assessment is a valuable early step.

This is less necessary if an area of focus has been identified; however, even if a high quality decision aid has been identified for use, being able to objectively demonstrate that both clinicians and patients perceive a need can be invaluable.

In addition to ascertaining the needs of your target population, doing a needs assessment is an effective buy-in tool for each group interviewed. The process makes each person consulted a partner in the project.